Category Archives: Traditional|Festival Food

¤ DIWALI | DEEPAVALI SPECIAl ¤

Deepavali – Festival of lights and feasts!

Mornings show streaks of red in the Eastern sky and night glows with a golden hue from thousands of lamps, as everyone revels in festivities. Dry spells are filled with glittering and intense booming fireworks. Incessant rains cannot dampen the pervading festive spirit.

However this year, as of now, it is all sun and skies!

Various stories for celebrating Diwali are

  • Goddess Lakshmi’s birthday
  • Victory of Rama over Ravaana
  • Krishna killed the demon Narakaasur
  • Vamana, Vishnu in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali
  • Return of the Pandavas
  • Worship of Kali Ma and Ganesha
  • Nirvana of Lord Mahavira
  • The Sikh Guru Hargobind Ji, freed from imprisonment

In all interpretations, one common thread rings true—the festival marks the triumph of good over evil and celebration of life!

In South India, on Deepavali, people wake up early in the morning and take an oil bath, wear new clothes, light fireworks and eat sweets and savouries. They greet one another asking, “Have you had your ‘Ganga snanam’?” referring to the morning oil bath, symbolising a dip in the purifying holy Ganges.

Click on the links below for Diwali Special homemade recipes, you may want to try out this year

 

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¤ NAVRATHRI SUNDAL ¤

India, a land of festivals with varying rich cultural heritage, celebrates ‘Navrathri’!

‘Navratri’, Sanskrit word meaning nine nights, ends victoriously on ‘Vijaydashmi’ or ‘Dusshera’. These nine days, nine incarnations of the Goddess are celebrated in various parts of the country following different rituals but the underlying essence is the same.

Some of the salient features of this celebration, in different parts of the country –

In the  North – On Dusshera, Ramleela, a theatrical act of Ramayana is enacted, culminating by burning the effigies of Ravana along with Kumbhakarna and Meghanada, celebrating the victory of good over evil.

In the West – Garbha or Dandiya-Raas, a famous dance form is performed on all the nine nights and celebrated by people participating from all over the globe.

In the East – Durga Pooja is performed, where exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of the ‘Goddess Durga’ slaying the demon ‘Mahishasura’ are worshipped and then immersed in the river.

In the South – In Tamil Nadu, ‘Golu or Kolu’ –  A set of steps displaying an arrangement of dolls, is set up in our home. The number of steps are in odd numbers i.e 3,5,7 or 9. The dolls are unique, antique, modern, hand made or ready made dolls. They are of deities, saints, leaders, plants, animals or also displayed in themes like a wedding, market, minature parks, zoo, sports stadium or any other suitable theme. An exhibition signifying, all of the creator’s creations.

‘Marapachi bommai’, an inseparable part of the Golu, is made from teak or rose wood. These traditional wooden dolls are preserved for generations, depict husband and wife, representing prosperity and fertility. Authentic ‘Marapachi’ are rare and available only in Tirupati and Channapatna. Likewise are the Chettiar-Achi pair which is invariably a thalai aati bommai, traditionally made in Panruti, Tanjore, the place famous for its clay and workmanship. Decades earlier, potters of Panruti used to make the dolls around a frame of thin wires, which gave the dolls a perfect shape and build. They were weightless too and women found it easy to lift them and place them on the steps | padis. These dolls generally formed a part of the daughter’s wedding trousseau. Golu dolls are treasured legacy, tokens of the family’s proud possessions, valued aesthetically and sentimentally.

During Navaratri, colourful Golu dolls flood the markets as people add new ones to their collection. Yet, say many, the charm of old dolls is unmatched. Those days, the dolls were much bigger in size and yet proportionate. Even the facial expressions would be intact and the colours didn’t fade that easily. Earlier every single doll was hand-crafted individually, however these days, dolls are mass-produced using readymade moulds and hence the features aren’t sharp. Some neighbourhoods even conduct competitions and award prizes for the best Kolu of the year.

In the evening it is customary to invite relatives, friends, accquaintances for viewing the Golu. Women and girls are offered Vethala Pakku | Haldi Kumkum. Tasty and healthy Sundal, made with different variety of beans, is generally the ‘prasadam’ distributed to all, who come home and admire their creative efforts. Vinayaka Chathurthi : Kozhukattai,  Deepavali : Bakshanam and Navratri : Sundal are synonymous. Apart from Sundal, payasam is also prepared for naivedhyam. When we were young, we went to neighbouring houses, officially to see the Navaratri kolu but the main attraction was the sundal. When we came out of a house, we would open the pack | pottalam immediately to see what sundal variety was inside!

For Goddess of knowledge, Saraswati Puja is performed on the 9th day, books and musical instruments, are placed alongside the Golu. Ayudha Puja is also conducted in South India. Weapons, agricultural implements, all kinds of tools, equipments, machinery and automobiles too, are worshipped on this day.  Vijayadashami, the 10th day, marks new and prosperous beginnings. Start ups on this day are believed to flourish. It is also the first day of school for many children, learning any new skill on this day assures definite success in that field. On the eve of ‘Vijayadasami’, any one doll from the ‘Kolu’ is symbolically put to sleep and the Kalasa is moved a bit towards North, to mark the end of that year’s Navaratri Golu. After prayers, Golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year. To preserve the colour and maintain them intact, they are wrapped in a soft cotton cloth or newspaper. Neem leaves are also sometimes used to keep termites and insects at bay.

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Kolam – one of the many more creative exhibits during Navrathri!

PACHAI PAYAR SUNDAL | GREEN MUNG SUNDAL 

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time 15 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

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Ingredients :

  • 500 gms Mung beans
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 3 – 4 broken whole red chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 th of a fresh coconut

Method :

  1. Wash and soak the green mung for 10 -15 mins. Drain, wash and pressure cook the mung beans with turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of water, till 3 – 4 whistles.
  2. Grate the fresh coconut. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a bandli | skillet and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the udad dal. red chilies, curry leaves in that order. Then add the pressure cooked mung beans, red chilli powder and salt. Toss and mix well till the mung beans are dry and well coated with the seasonings.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut and it is ready to be distributed.

KONDAKADALAI SUNDAL | CHICK PEAS SUNDAL (same as for Varalakshmi Vratham)

Prep time : 9 hrs; Cooking time 15 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

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Ingredients :

  • 500 gms kondakadalai | chick peas | kabuli channa
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 3 – 4 broken whole red chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 th of a fresh coconut

Method :

  1. Wash and soak the chick peas overnight. Next morning drain, wash and pressure cook the chick peas with turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of water, till 3 – 4 whistles.
  2. Grate the coconut. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a bandli | skillet and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the udad dal. red chilies, curry leaves in that order. Then add the pressure cooked chick peas, red chilli powder and salt. Toss and mix well till the chick peas are dry and well coated with the seasonings.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut and it is ready to be distributed.

Variations :

Sundal can be made with any variety of bean or lentil like Bengal Gram Dal, Black gram lentil, Red gram lentil, HorseGram, Black Chana, Soya Beans, Peanuts, Cowpeas, Black eyed beans, Dried Green Peas, Kidney beans or even fresh corn kernels (in trend, nowadays).

¤ VARALAKSHMI VRATHAM NEIVEDHYAM | THENGAI POORANAM KOZHUKATTAI |ULUNDU VADAI | KONDAKADALAI SUNDAL ¤

Varalakshmi Vratham Poojai is celebrated on a friday before the full moon day, in the Tamil Month Sravana (July-August). Worshiping Goddess Varalakshmi this day, is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of all riches, prosperity, agriculural wealth, learning, love and peace, fame and power, Strength, victory and success.

Goddess of wealth and bestower of boons (Varams) – Wow! I sure love to welcome her! “Varalakshmi Ra Ve Ma Intiki“!

On the pooja day, Neivedhyam | Food offerings – Thengai Poornam Kozhukattai – sweet rice flour dumplings made with coconut fillings, Ulundu Vadai -savoury crispy fried doughnuts, Kondakadalai Sundal – tempered grabanzo beans and Pacharisi Idli – idlis made with raw rice are some of the main items prepared. At the end of the pooja, married women and young girls in the house tie the turmeric anointed, yellow sacred thread ‘Nombu sharadu’. These lovely delicacies make all in the family want to welcome her even more!

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Busy picture depicting the busy festival day! Thengai pooranam Kozhukkattai to the left, Ulundu Vadai and Kondakadalai Sundal on the right hand side – neivedhiyam for Varalakshmi Vratham! “Varalakshmi Ra Ve Ma Intiki“!

THENGAI POORANAM KOZHUKATTAI 

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 1 hr; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for the Thengai pooranam :

  • One big fresh Cococnut
  • 200 gms powdered Jaggery
  • 9 green cardamoms

Method for preparing the Thengai pooranam :

  1. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Powder the jaggery. Heat it in a vessel along with about 2-3 tbsp water. Let the jaggery dissolve in the water, come to a boil, froth up and thicken to form a syrup with a divinely sweet aroma. Add the grated coconut and stir over low flame. Cook till all the water is absorbed and the fillings become sticky. Add the powdered cardamom, cool and keep covered.

Ingredients for the Kozhukkattai covering :

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1- 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method for preparing the Kozhukattai covering :

  1. In a wide bottom vessel, bring the water with salt and oil, to a rolling boil. Now add the flour in installments and simultaneously turn it with the handle of a long spoon for about 5 mins making sure no lumps are formed. Switch off heat. Keep covered till it cools down a bit and is bearable to touch. Knead well to a smooth dough.

Method for preparing the Kozhukakattai :

  1. Dip your fingers in little amount of sesame oil, grease your palms with it. Take a lump of the flour (arecanut size) and shape it into a cup with your hand and fill it with the coconut filling | thengai pooranam and seal it on all sides forming a conical shape. Make similar kozhukkattais with all of the flour and the filling.
  2. Place a few of them on Idli plates and steam cook them in batches, in a pressure cooker without the whistle for about 10 – 15 mins. Repeat the procedure till all the kozhukattais are cooked.
  3. Ready for neiveidhyam.

Tip :

Children can be involved in the last step activity of preparing the Kozhukakattai and make them feel a part of the ceremony. They love to prepare the kozhukakkattais and do a great job of it. Help from any quarter is welcome on a busy day of festivity!

ULUNDU VADAI | BLACK GRAM DHAL VADAI

Prep time : 2 – 3 hours; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups Black gram lentils
  • 7 – 9 green chilies
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 10 – 15 curry leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • OIl for frying

Method :

  1. Soak the black gram lentils for 2 – 3 hours (soaking for a longer time results in crispy vadais). Drain and grind it well to a smooth dough with only salt in a wet grinder. In the meantime finely chop the green chilies and curry leaves, grate the ginger and add it to the dough. Mix well.
  2. Heat oil in a wok | bandli. Take little dough and flatten it out into a circle shape, on a wet piece of plaintain leaf or your wet palm. Make a hole in the centre using the finger. Gently slide it out and slide it into the hot oil. Cook well on both sides, till reddish brown on both sides. Remove it out with a slotted spoon, to drain off excess oil and place it on an absorbent paper. It is now ready  for neiveidhyam.

KONDAKADALAI SUNDAL

Prep time : 9 hrs; Cooking time 15 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 500 gms kondakadalai | chick peas | kabuli channa
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 3 – 4 broken whole red chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 th of a fresh coconut

Method :

  1. Wash and soak the chick peas overnight. Next morning drain, wash and pressure cook the chick peas with turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of water, till 3 – 4 whistles.
  2. Grate the coconut. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a bandli | skillet and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the udad dal. red chilies, curry leaves in that order. Then add the pressure cooked chick peas, red chilli powder and salt. Toss and mix well till the chick peas are dry and well coated with the seasonings.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut and it is ready for neiveidhyam.

¤ THENGAI PAL PAYASAM| COCONUT MILK PAYASAM ¤

On the friday following the Varalakshmi Vratham poojai, Coconut payasam is prepared. The coconut  which was kept on the ‘Kalasam’ for the poojai is stored in a rice bag, through the week and then used for this preparation.This payasam recipe is vegan and gluten free.

Pure goodness of delicious, smooth, flavoured coconut milk is indeed a treat for the Gods!

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Prep time : 30 mins; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4

Ingredients :

  • 1 large coconut
  • 2 tsp rice
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sugar or jaggery
  • 7 – 9 green cardamoms
  • 7 – 9 saffron strands
  • a dash of grated nutmeg powder
  • a pinch of edible camphor | pachai karpooram
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1, 2, 3 Coconut milk extracts and the simmering ‘Coconut Milk Payasam’ made with palm sugar.

Method :

  1. Wash, rinse and soak the rice in lukewarm water for about 15 mins.
  2. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamom in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Grind the grated coconut along with the soaked rice and about 1 1/2 cups of warm water in a blender. Filter with a strainer or a muslin cloth and obtain the 1st extract of (coconut + rice) milk. Repeat the procedure twice, to obtain the 2nd and 3rd extract of (coconut + rice) milk.
  4.  Mix and pour all the milk extracts into a vessel and heat it over a low flame and stir continuously. When it gets heated up, add sugar or jaggery and when it starts to simmer, switch of heat and add cardamom powder, grated nutmeg powder, saffron and pachai karpooram (lends a divine aroma). Coconut payasam is ready for neivedhyam.

Note :

  1. Do not allow the milk to boil as the milk will curdle. On the other hand, if removed too soon, it will have a raw smell. The thumb rule is to allow the milk to get hot enough i.e upto its simmering point but not be allowed to boil.
  2. Since it is for neivedhyam, one can err on lower levels of sugar. If required one may add more sugar after the neivedhyam.

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🍘 THAVALA ADAI | RICE | MILLET LENTIL PATTY BURGER 🍘

‘Thavala adai’ – traditional dish held in high regard

Fusion of spices, rice ‘n’ lentil

Yet to encounter it on a Menu card

Why? makes me wonder still

Crispy, chewy, nutty – all in one bite

Do try it

My wondering will seem right

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Thavala adais served – If I were you, I wanna be me too 🎼
Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 15 mins; Serves : 4 

Ingredients  :

  • 2 cups of Raw Rice or Millet
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of Channa dal/ Bengal gram lentil
  • 1 tbsp of Udad dal / Black gram lentil
  • 1 tbsp of Thuvar dal / Red gram lentil
  • 3- 5  Green chilies
  • 3 – 5 Red chilies
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt  as per taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Coconut
  • Mustard – 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 tsp Udad dal
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida powder
  • a few curry leaves
  • 3 – 5 tbsps of cooking oil

Method :

  1. Soak, wash and dry the rice or millet and dals well.
  2. Grind the cleaned rice and dal  along with green chilies, red chilies, ginger, pepper and cumin in a mixer grinder.
  3. Heat a wide mouthed frying pan. Pour 5-6 tsps of oil, thrown in the mustard seeds, 1 tsp udad dal, curry leaves and asafoetida powder. Fry till mustard seeds splutter and urad dal turns light brown. Add 3 cups of water, salt and bring to rolling boil. Reduce flame and then add the ground rice or millet rava mix. Stir continuously, till it gets a thick consistency like ‘uppuma‘. Mix in the grated coconut. Switch off heat and close with a lid for ten minutes.
  4. Heat a tawa or a flat iron girdle/pan. Smear 2 – 3 tsps of oil and grease it well.
  5. Take a part of the cooked flour and roll it into a lemon size ball. Flatten it like a patty burger, about 1/2 inch thick ‘adai’ and place it on the greased pan.  4- 6 ‘adais’ can be arranged at a time, on the pan, according to its size. Pour 2 tsps of oil, around the ‘adais’, sprinkle a little bit of water and cover with a lid. Cook over slow fire. When cooked, the bottom of the ‘adais’ should be crisp and golden brown. Flip the ‘adais’, pour 2 tsps oil around it and cook till the other side too, are crisp and golden brown.
  6. Serve hot with coconut chutney, tomato chutney, sambar or pickle.

Variation :

  1. The cooked flour can be rolled into oval shaped balls, steam cooked and served.
  2. Green chutney can be kept inside the dough as a stuffing and then flattened out into ‘adai’. Fillings can be as creative, as you like it.

¤ VINAYAKA | PILLAYAR | GANESH CHATURTHI NEIVEDHYAM | THENGAI KOZHUKKATTAI | UPPU KOZHUKKATTAI ¤

Ganesha | Ganapati | Vinayaka is one of the most popular and much loved, amongst the pantheon of Hindu gods!

He is the Lord of success, education, knowledge, wisdom, wealth and the one to be invoked for an auspicious start of any venture or beginnings in life, as he nonchalantly removes all obstacles and evils on the way!

Ganesha, the elephant headed deity with a mouse as his vehicle – His unique form has great significance!

Ganesha’s elephant head symbolizes, the Atman or the soul – the ultimate supreme reality and his huge pot-bellied human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om (or Auṃ, Sanskrit: ॐ) – the sound symbol of cosmic universe.

In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him to smoothly propel mankind forward, on the eternal path, by destroying any obstacles encountered. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is an implement to capture all difficulties.

The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice for writing the Mahabaratha. The rosary in his other hand suggests that, the pursuit of knowledge is continuous.

The laddoos | Modaks | Kozhukattais (sweets) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petitions. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. He is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness, pride and riding the mouse exemplifies the need to control our ego.

The festival to celebrate his birthday and glorify him is ‘Ganesh Chaturthi | Vinayak Chaturthi’. Eco-friendly materials are used to make Ganesha idols, primarily wet mud or clay is used  for moulding and either done at home or bought. On the day of the festival, the idol is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoors, for people to view and pay homage. In the state of Maharashtra this festival is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur. Most elaborate, huge and gigantic idols are displayed and the celebrations last for 10 days, culminating on ‘Ananta Chaturdashi’. When the final day dawns, all join in a procession, carry the idol to the river, immerse it and shout “Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” (O father Ganesha, come again early next year)

Modaks | Kozhukkatais are his favourite. In many versions and variations, this is one of the main items made as an offering for him – a win-win activity to get his blessings and gorge on these rare delicacies!

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Offerings for Vinayaka Chaturthi. First row – the making of Thengai pooranam Kozhukkattais | Steamed Sweet dumplings . Second row – the making of Ulutham pooranam Kozhukkattais | Steamed Savoury dumplings.
 VELLAM KOZHUKKATTAI  | THENGAI POORANAM KOZHUKKATTAI (same as Varalakshmi Vratham naivedhyam) 

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 1 hr; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for the Thengai pooranam :

  • One big fresh Cococnut
  • 200 gms powdered Jaggery
  • 9 green cardamoms

Method for preparing the Thengai pooranam :

  1. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Powder the jaggery. Heat it in a vessel along with about 2-3 tbsp water. Let the jaggery dissolve in the water, come to a boil, froth up and thicken to form a syrup with a divinely sweet aroma. Add the grated coconut and stir over low flame. Cook till all the water is absorbed and the fillings become sticky. Add the powdered cardamom, cool and keep covered.

Ingredients for the Kozhukkattai covering :

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1- 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai covering :

  1. In a wide bottom vessel, bring the water with salt and oil, to a rolling boil. Now add the flour in installments and simultaneously turn it with the handle of a long spoon for about 5 mins making sure no lumps are formed. Switch off heat. Keep covered till it cools down a bit and is bearable to touch. Knead well to a smooth dough.

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai :

  1. Dip your fingers in little amount of sesame oil, grease your palms with it. Take a lump of the flour (arecanut size) and shape it into a cup with your hand and fill it with the coconut filling | thengai pooranam and seal it on all sides forming a conical shape. Make similar kozhukkattais with all of the flour and the filling.
  2. Place a few of them on Idli plates and steam cook them in batches, in a pressure cooker without the whistle for about 10 – 15 mins. Repeat the procedure till all the kozhukattais are cooked.
  3. Ready for neiveidhyam.

ULUTHAM POORANAM KOZHUKKATTAI  | UPPU KOZHUKKATTAI :

Prep time : 1 hr; Cooking time : 45 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for Ulutham Pooranam :

  • 3/4 cup black gram lentil | udad dal
  • 3 tbsp bengal gram lentil | channa dal
  • 9 – 12 green chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida | hing
  • 3 tsp of sesame oil
  • salt as required

Method for preparing the Ulutham Pooranam :

  1. Soak the black gram lentil along with the bengal gram lentil for atleast 1 hour.
  2. Drain off the lentils completely and grind it in a blender along with the green chilies and salt.
  3. Steam the smooth ground lentils paste after placing it on Idli plates stand, in a pressure cooker for 15 – 20 mins, till cooked. Check with a spoon if the mixture does not stick then it is cooked, else steam it for another 5 -10 mins. Once cooked, cut it into small pieces and crumble it onto a plate.
  4. Heat oil in a bandli | wok, add mustard seeds, let them splutter then add curry leaves and asafoetida. Fry for a few secs, then add the crumbled steam cooked lentils and fry for another 10 mins. Switch off heat.

Ingredients for the Kozhukkattai covering :

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1- 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai covering :

  1. In a wide bottom vessel, bring the water with salt and oil, to a rolling boil. Now add the flour in installments and simultaneously turn it with the handle of a long spoon for about 5 mins making sure no lumps are formed. Switch off heat. Keep covered till it cools down a bit and is bearable to touch. Knead well to a smooth dough.

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai :

  1. Dip your fingers in little amount of sesame oil, grease your palms with it. Take a lump of the flour and shape it into a cup with your hand and fill it with the black gram lentil filling | uluthum pooranam, fold and seal it on the side forming a half moon shape. Make similar kozhukkattais with all of the flour and the filling.
  2. Place a few of them on Idli plates and steam cook them in batches, in a pressure cooker without the whistle for about 10 – 15 mins. Repeat the procedure till all the kozhukattais are cooked.
  3. Ready for neiveidhyam.

Tip :

  1. Children and hubby can be involved in the last step activity of preparing the Kozhukakattai and make them feel a part of the ceremony. They love to prepare the kozhukkattais and do a great job of it. One need not get too fastidious about the shape, round is a shape too! The larger picture is to go ahead and enjoy making these lovely treats, which taste great in any shape!
  2. There are ready made moulds available to shape the kozhukkattais but personally I prefer hand moulded ones, they have an old world charm about them!

¤ KRISHNA JAYANTHI | VELLAI CHEEDAI | UPPU CHEEDAI ¤

Krishna Jayanthi | Gokulashtami | Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated to mark the birth of Shri Krishna – the attractive dark one. He is very fond of butter.His shenanigans relating to this, earn him, his colloquial name ‘Makhan chor’ (Butter thief).

Stories of his endearing childhood pranks, full of fun and enjoyment are know as Bala Krishna Leela and stories of his youth, where he enamours all the Gopikas by playing captivating melody on his divine flute are known as Rasa Leela.

He who celebrates a life of indulgence and the teacher who gave us the Bhagavad Gita tells us 

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.” [ Bhagavad Gita 9:26 ] 

So just ‘Chill Maadi ‘ ! Offer whatever you can, your love and devotion is all that matters!

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Sweet ‘Vellai Cheedai’ to the right and Savoury ‘Uppu Cheedai’ to the left – neivedhyam for Krishna Jayanthi
VELLAI CHEEDAI 

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 3 cups rice flour
  • 3 tbsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 a fresh coconut
  • 7 – 9 green cardamoms
  • 11/2 cups of jaggery
  • ghee or coconut oil for frying

Method :

  1. Dry roast the rice till slightly reddish. Set aside.
  2. Dry roast the udad dal till reddish and grind it in a dry grinder to a smooth flour. Set aside.
  3. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients [ rice flour + black gram lentil flour + sesame seeds+ grated coconut + cardamom powder].
  5. Prepare a thin syrup of jaggery by adding about 3 tbsp of water. Let it mix well and come to a boil. It should form a soft ball consistency when a drop is poured in water.
  6. Remove from fire and add it to rice flour mixture. Mix well with a ladle and then knead to a dough.
  7. Pinch out little by little and roll it into small gooseberry size balls.
  8. Heat ghee or oil on a medium to low flame. Once the oil is hot, slide the balls gently and fry these balls, few at a time, turning very gently and cook them in oil till dark red in colour. Once all the ‘vellai cheedais’ are deep fried, they are ready for neivedhyam.

Note :

  1. This one is a tough cookie! It does require a bit of practice. If it disintegrates whilst frying, it means jaggery or water is more, add about 3 – 4 tsps of rice flour and knead the dough again.
  2. One can also heat the jaggery syrup in a bandli | wok to a boil and add all of the dry roasted rice flour mixture in step 4 to it. Go on stirring with the handle of the ladle and cook for 5 mins till it can be rolled. Knead well and then roll into balls and fry them in ghee | oil.
  3. Even after following step 1, it disintegrates then baking is an easier, hassle free, good healthy option. Bake them at 180 C for 15 mins. Turn all of them over and bake for another 10 mins.

UPPU CHEEDAI

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 3 cups rice flour
  • 1/4 cup udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 1 tbsp channa dal | bengal gram lentil
  • 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 11/2  tsp jeera | cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 a fresh coconut
  • 100 gms butter
  • salt as required
  • coconut oil for frying

Method :

  1. Soak the bengal gram dal for 15 mins in water and drain (soaking will make the channa dal soft and chewy to bite into)
  2. Dry roast the rice flour till slightly reddish. Set aside.
  3. Dry roast the udad dal till reddish and grind it in a dry grinder to a smooth flour. Set aside.
  4. Grind black peppercorns and cumin seeds coarsely in a dry grinder. Set aside.
  5. Grate the coconut. Set aside.
  6. Knead the [rice flour+ black gram lentil flour+ freshly ground (cumin + pepper) powder+ asafoetida+ grated coconut+drained bengal gram dal + butter] into a firm dough.
  7. Pinch the dough little by little and roll into tiny little marble sized balls.
  8. Heat the oil in a bandli | wok and fry the ‘uppu cheedais’ in batches, till golden brown and crisp. Once all the ‘uppu cheedais’ are deep fried, they are ready for neivedhyam.

Note :

  1. Baked uppu cheedais can also made keeping it inside the oven at 180 C for 15 mins, turn them over and keep for another 10 mins.
  2. Instead of pepper and cumin powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder can be added.